Why Newspaper?

By Reese O'Brien

When I was asked to write an article for our school’s paper I was confused. Doubtless, many of you can sympathize with this reaction. My mind struggled to embrace such an archaic concept. Newspaper? Does Methacton even have one of those? An image of yellowing pages plastered haphazardly to lockers popped into my brain, straight out of a 90’s movie. In our age of google-powered planning, Wikipedia, and blinking phones, a school newspaper seemed obsolete at best. Why worry about petty school news when there’s a whole world at our fingertips?

And yet, Annie Zhang perched on the armrest of a couch in the school library, proudly declaring that we were going to bring back the school newspaper. The Windy Hill of decades past may have withered with the passing seasons, but she was going to head a movement to revitalize it. Gesturing animatedly with her phone, she spoke of an online-based paper, showing us examples from North Penn. Within seconds, I was hooked. My tendency to get swept away in the moment ran rampant and I did what most young people do – I tethered myself to the chance of being part of something meaningful.

But why? Why did I suddenly decide to volunteer to write for something that I never had a passion for? My apologies to whoever I am about to offend, but I’ve historically considered school newspapers to be either cheesy, irrelevant, or some combination of the two. However, after several weeks of pondering, I’ve reached the decision that my choice is justified. This newspaper has the potential to be something great, if it is only embraced by our community.

For one, this platform offers a chance for the student voice to be heard. While there are other ways of accomplishing this (student council, The Element, etc.), we as students rarely voice our opinions on current happenings at Methacton. And our voices matter. I’ve only spent three years at this school, a miniscule segment of my life. But throughout this time I have watched as my peers carve out pieces of Methacton. I’ve run at meets, seeing the blood, sweat, and tears as girls press their training to the limit. I’ve stood on the risers of our stage, noticing the way a freshman’s face lights up as they lose themselves in a song. I’ve sat in the back row of Mr. Foley’s class, watching students grit their teeth in preparation for a presentation. And, despite the fact that these events are commonplace, mere footnotes in the book of life, I want to hear the stories of Methacton students. So many kids in our school are striving, pushing for something intangible beyond themselves. Doesn’t the world deserve to notice their efforts?

A few minutes ago, I read Joanna Zheng’s article and felt my heart lurch. It is a true masterpiece, composed of haunting lyrics and the bittersweet reality of what it means to be human. Reading it left me with an ache in my soul, and the uneasy twinge that accompanies questioning the way society functions. This, I thought, is why we need a school paper. Joanna’s writing perfectly represents what I hope this newspaper will embody: the voice of a student, sharing her opinion on matters as trivial as English class. Because these events cease to be trivial when someone has the courage to expose their inner complexities. For those who won’t write for the paper, I hope that the other reporters and I may bring your opinions to life in our articles. Even if only two people read this newspaper, it is two more people who have a better understanding of what it means to be a Methacton student. Reading about the aspirations and failures of others widens our horizons and gives us a better appreciation for our individual circumstances. We don’t have to love each other, but if we have a chance to reach amity we should clasp it tightly and not let go.